Alison Arberg’s mom passed away from breast cancer in 2017. She’ll be running Boston for her.

"From Hopkinton to Boston, I will carry her with me every step of the way."


In our “Why I’m Running” series, Boston Marathon runners share what’s inspiring them to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston on April 15, 2019. Are you running Boston? Here’s how to share your story on

Name: Alison Arberg
Age: 32
From: Richmond, Virginia
Bib #: 25552

With the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team, I’ll be fundraising for cancer research and participating in the Boston Marathon in memory of my mom, Elaine Murphy Arberg, who passed away from breast cancer in December 2017.

While I grew up in the D.C. area, Boston is my mom’s hometown and to her, this city and its people are unmatched. She always spoke so highly of the medical mecca that is Massachusetts, and not until cancer touched our family did I fully grasp the importance of this.


When my mom was first diagnosed in 2012, just two weeks before my older sister’s wedding, she was the epitome of Boston strong. She put on a brave face, smiled, and relished in the happy occasion with family and friends without speaking a word about it because the last thing she wanted was to worry us all. Over the next year, she suffered through chemo, radiation, and surgery, and when the treatment was finally over, we breathed a deep sigh of relief thinking that hellish time was behind her. But when her cancer returned in 2016 and subsequently metastasized to her brain, the next step was an obvious choice for her…she needed to get a second opinion from the unrivaled Dana-Farber.

The oncologist there made her feel heard, carefully reviewed her medical information, and concurred with her current course of treatment. From then on, my mom could charge ahead in her treatment with confidence knowing that she sought out the best medical advice available. Throughout the time she had left with us, she never lost her fighting spirit nor gave up hope. It will be beyond words for me to return to her beloved hometown and take part in the prestigious Boston Marathon as a charity runner while raising critical funds for cancer research with the DFMC team, and from Hopkinton to Boston, I will carry her with me every step of the way.


Check out our entire “Why I’m Running” series.


Editor’s note: Entry may have been lightly edited for clarity or grammar.